Food Plants International - Plant Fact Sheets Pithecellobium dulce - Madras Thorn
Edible portion: Fruit, Aril, Pods, Seeds, Seeds - oil
A shrub or small tree. It grows up to 10 m tall but can be 15-25 m tall. The trunk can be 50-60 cm across. There are many branches. The branches are spiny. These are in pairs and are 4-10 mm long. The young leaves are usually reddish. The leaves are twice compound with four leaflets. There is a small spine between the leaflets. The flowers are greenish white in rounded dense heads about 1 cm across. The pods are often twisted spirally. They are 10 to 18 cm long and red when ripe. They are about 1 cm wide and contain 6 to 8 black shiny seeds surrounded by a white to red fleshy aril or pulp. The seeds are flattened and 9 mm long by 7 mm wide and 2 mm thick.
A tropical plant. It is native to C and S America. Common and widely distributed throughout the Philippines. It suits dry coastal areas probably below 800 m altitude. It can grow in low and medium altitudes and in wet and dry areas. It needs light. It can tolerate drought. It can grow on a range of soil types. Well drained soils are best but it can grow in clay soils. In Nepal it grows to about 700 m altitude. It can grow in arid places. In XTBG Yunnan.